Although fans of HBO’s medieval fantasy series, Game of Thrones, tend to write a lot about the show online, now there’s a new way for them to make a more lasting statement about the show.
George R.R. Martin fans were already a wildly devoted bunch before the HBO series based on Martin’s "A Song of Ice and Fire" books began airing last spring. Few could’ve predicted the extent to which the series would galvanize existing fans and create new ones. With the hotly anticipated second season of Game of Thrones set to begin airing on April 1, HBO wants fans to show their devotion in the most permanent way possible—with free tattoos.
"Since this season is really about the war amongst the five kings, we thought it would be great to give fans the chance to pledge their allegiance to one of the five families," says Mike Monello, chief creative officer of Campfire, the New York-based agency behind HBO’s campaign for Game of Thrones.
Campfire has put together an extensive campaign, inviting fans to align themselves with their favorite noble house in Westeros, by pledging allegiance on Facebook. Making a solemn vow on social media is for newbies, though. HBO and Campfire have also teamed up with tattoo artist Ami James of NY Ink to give out tattoos for each of the houses’ sigils (pictoral signatures used for magic, but you probably knew that).
Hardcore devotees of the books and the HBO series can brave the elements and attend a Pledge Your Allegiance event at Wooster Social Club in New York on Friday, March 30, to get one of the 50 free tattoos James will be on hand to ink. For hardcore fans who would prefer to make things less awkward with their concerned loved one, there will be temporary tattoos available as well. The event goes from 12:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
"Since the show has garnered such intense love from the people who watched it, and since the fan base grew throughout the season, we thought this time we’d develop the Pledge Your Allegiance program to allow those fans to express their love for the show by playing with the story," Monello says. "Then we started to see some fans posting tattoos online and we thought ‘That’s the ultimate pledge.’"
A Game of Thrones has a remarkably passionate fan base that has had no trouble expressing their love so far. These fans are also remarkably social. "It’s amazing how quickly word spreads amongst the fan community about anything, whether it’s related to the book, or the auxiliary products, or the TV show," Monello says. "We learned that last year how much they were willing to come out to a physical place and spend time with each other and talk to each other about these books."
Last spring, Campfire launched a sensory campaign leading up to the series premiere. They sent key influencers a mix of immersive digital experiences and physical objects that conjured the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of Westeros (the last one, if you’re wondering, involved a climate-based app). Most interesting, and delicious, of all, HBO and Campfire partnered with celebrity chef Tom Colicchio to make Thrones-inspired dishes to serve out of a food truck in New York and L.A. The menu included items that might have been served in the various kingdoms of Westeros, including squab, rabbit, and headcheese.
If you make it to the event at Wooster Social Club on Friday, look out for Co.Create. We will be there, perhaps affirming a lifelong commitment to Targaryen house. Let us know which house you’ll be pledging in the comments.